McDonald’s Had A ‘Contingency Plan’ For Twitter Promo Gone Awry

McDonald’s launched a Twitter hashtag last week, #McDStories, that was meant to generate heartwarming tales of people enjoying time spent with McNugget value meals and the like. Instead, people tweeted stories about things like chipped teeth and foreign objects in their food. HAHA… ugh.

That hashtag was accompanied by another #MeettheFarmers, which the company’s social media director Rick Wion said in a statement to Business Insider was “successful.” However, “#mcdstories did not go as planned. We quickly pulled #mcdstories and it was promoted for less than two hours,” the statement says.

Wion also says that all social media programs have “contingency plans” in case they don’t go as expected. “The ability to change midstream helped this small blip from becoming something larger,” he writes.

On the one hand, we give McDonald’s and its marketing and social media teams props for being prepared for something to go amiss. They must’ve known that if they had an open-ended campaign like this, it would be an invitation for people to tell the stories that McDonald’s doesn’t want spread all over the place.

On the other hand, it’s frustrating to hear that a company is getting this kind of feedback — fingernails in burgers, people who want humane and environmentally-sound farm policies to be a factor, etc — and it’s not using it to improve the business. The statement focuses on the low percentage of negative tweets. That’s also the focus of this tweet from Wion posted just a short time ago.  How about you try to keep clippings out of the food? What are you doing to make sure chickens have happy lives before they become McNuggets?

That’s why people loved the response from Domino’s after two employees in 2009 made videos of the disgusting things they do to the food. Since then, they’ve re-built the brand on the idea that they’re going to make things better and let you know about it along the way. Today that company tops brand lists.

Sometimes companies have to actually take a hold of bad feedback so they can turn those lemons to lemonade. Here McDonald’s has the opportunity and doesn’t seem interested in using it.